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1960's Combined Arms Tactics


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For how a British late WW2 armoured division operated, these videos of Operation GOODWOOD are useful:

 

https://youtu.be/JMoTtDxTal8

https://youtu.be/0Ehkp3hBoQM

https://youtu.be/EUUHahXghI0

https://youtu.be/0_XxVUmKwAw

 

Note that this was 11th Armoured Division's second ever operation, so infantry-armour cooperation was still in its infancy. The 7th Armoured Division, having fought in North Africa and Italy, was considerably more advanced at this time in terms of all-arms operations, as can be seen from this website:

 

http://www.desertrats.org.uk/battles1944.htm#Villersbocage

 

In terms of other nations, Canada and Poland followed British doctrine. I don't know much about the Americans, and the videos above should give some idea of the Germans.

 

Best,

 

Greg.

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in late 44 Guards Armoured morphed into more or less tribal groups - Grenadier _ tank & infantry, likewise Coldstream and Irish Guards

 

there was also a group with Welsh Guards Armored - not 100% if infantry was also Welsh

 

Not sure how tribes were organised - I think btn groups of 3+1 - Tank and Infantry & Infantry & Tank

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US training film circa 1947 about Tank Batallions reinforced with infantry & artillery companies

 

 

 

From this and Goodwood videos (and the Totalize history) it seems attachments were typically company size.

Edited by FLOZi
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in late 44 Guards Armoured morphed into more or less tribal groups - Grenadier _ tank & infantry, likewise Coldstream and Irish Guards

 

there was also a group with Welsh Guards Armored - not 100% if infantry was also Welsh

 

Not sure how tribes were organised - I think btn groups of 3+1 - Tank and Infantry & Infantry & Tank

Absolutely, my apologies for not including the Guards Armoured Division in my original responses. Guards Armoured were also unused until Normandy, like 11th Armoured Division, so developed their combined arms tactics at the same time.

 

Out of interest, you may have noted that the infantry brigade in a British late-WW2 armoured division had three infantry battalions, with a fourth (the motor battalion) in the armoured brigade, but the armoured brigade contained three armoured regiments. But as WRW says, four infantry-tank groups were formed. The fourth tank regiment was one of the armoured reconnaissance regiments which was mounted on Cromwell tanks. The other armoured reconnaissance regiment in the division was equipped with armoured cars, much like today.

 

Best,

 

Greg.

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But I guess now they just cross attack companies/squadrons, rather than form company teams?

Sorry Stuart, missed this first time around.

 

Up to when I left in 2014 yes, but this was the same as the late 80s onwards. With the reorganization under A2020 I think it is probably different these days.

 

Best,

 

Greg.

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in late 44 Guards Armoured morphed into more or less tribal groups - Grenadier _ tank & infantry, likewise Coldstream and Irish Guards

 

there was also a group with Welsh Guards Armored - not 100% if infantry was also Welsh

 

Not sure how tribes were organised - I think btn groups of 3+1 - Tank and Infantry & Infantry & Tank

Absolutely, my apologies for not including the Guards Armoured Division in my original responses. Guards Armoured were also unused until Normandy, like 11th Armoured Division, so developed their combined arms tactics at the same time.

 

Out of interest, you may have noted that the infantry brigade in a British late-WW2 armoured division had three infantry battalions, with a fourth (the motor battalion) in the armoured brigade, but the armoured brigade contained three armoured regiments. But as WRW says, four infantry-tank groups were formed. The fourth tank regiment was one of the armoured reconnaissance regiments which was mounted on Cromwell tanks. The other armoured reconnaissance regiment in the division was equipped with armoured cars, much like today.

 

Best,

 

Greg.

As far as I know, there was only one recce regiment in an armoured division in 1944/45. In Italy, it had a mix of Stuarts and cruisers (Shermans in 5 Canadian Armoured, probably the same in UK armoured divs). Div recce regts in infantry divisions had a mix of armoured cars, scout cars, and carriers.

 

For a time in the winter of 44/45 the div recce of both 1 Canadian Infantry Division and 5 CAD were dismounted and used as infantry as were some LAA regts.

 

In France, the armoured div recce regt was equipped and organized like the other armoured regiments in the div, except that UK divs had Cromwells in lieu of 75 mm armed Shermans.

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in late 44 Guards Armoured morphed into more or less tribal groups - Grenadier _ tank & infantry, likewise Coldstream and Irish Guards

 

there was also a group with Welsh Guards Armored - not 100% if infantry was also Welsh

 

Not sure how tribes were organised - I think btn groups of 3+1 - Tank and Infantry & Infantry & Tank

Absolutely, my apologies for not including the Guards Armoured Division in my original responses. Guards Armoured were also unused until Normandy, like 11th Armoured Division, so developed their combined arms tactics at the same time.

 

Out of interest, you may have noted that the infantry brigade in a British late-WW2 armoured division had three infantry battalions, with a fourth (the motor battalion) in the armoured brigade, but the armoured brigade contained three armoured regiments. But as WRW says, four infantry-tank groups were formed. The fourth tank regiment was one of the armoured reconnaissance regiments which was mounted on Cromwell tanks. The other armoured reconnaissance regiment in the division was equipped with armoured cars, much like today.

 

Best,

 

Greg.

As far as I know, there was only one recce regiment in an armoured division in 1944/45. In Italy, it had a mix of Stuarts and cruisers (Shermans in 5 Canadian Armoured, probably the same in UK armoured divs). Div recce regts in infantry divisions had a mix of armoured cars, scout cars, and carriers.

 

For a time in the winter of 44/45 the div recce of both 1 Canadian Infantry Division and 5 CAD were dismounted and used as infantry as were some LAA regts.

 

In France, the armoured div recce regt was equipped and organized like the other armoured regiments in the div, except that UK divs had Cromwells in lieu of 75 mm armed Shermans.

Having checked, you're right technically, as the armoured car regiments belonged to corps, but in the latter stages of Normandy and through to the end of the war there appears to have been informal ownership by the armoured divisions. 7th Armoured had 11th Hussars, 11th Armoured had the Inns of Court and Guards Armoured had 2nd Household Cavalry. Main source is the book 'British Tanks in Normandy' but the subject is touched on in other books and online articles.

 

The official divisional reconnaissance regiments were mounted on Cromwell as you say. 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars in 7th Armoured, 2nd Northamptonshire Yeomanry followed by 15th/19th Kings Royal Hussars in 11th Armoured and 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards in Guards Armoured.

 

Best,

 

Greg.

Edited by GJK
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But I guess now they just cross attack companies/squadrons, rather than form company teams?

Sorry Stuart, missed this first time around.

 

Up to when I left in 2014 yes, but this was the same as the late 80s onwards. With the reorganization under A2020 I think it is probably different these days.

 

Best,

 

Greg.

 

Thank you, again thats very interesting.

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I know the UK retained Kangaroos into the 1950s as I've seen them used in films of demonstrations on Salisbury Plain. I doubt they were ever actually on the establishment of a British infantry battalion though, which begs the question, to whom did they belong?

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During the war to 1st Armoured Carrier Regiment, formed mostly from pers from the 25th Canadian Armoured Delivery Regiment, and 49th Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment.formerly 49 RTR. Both units were part of 79 Armoured Division.

 

After the war I understand the British units were RASC?

 

Some Canadian M4A2E8 were converted to APCs in the fifties and seem to have belonged to the RCAC School at Meaford Ontario.

Edited by R011
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Going back to postwar for a moment, I remember reading that when we first bought FV432, they actually rerolled a tank regiment as drivers of them for the first infantry regiments. Which kind of illustrates how technically unaware many of the first mechanised infantry regiments were.

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"Those battalions in half tracks gradually replaced them with four-wheel drive vehicles and the Humber FV1600 series. (These were APCs built on a one-ton truck chassis and could carry 6-8 men) Normal infantry battalions could be carried by an RASC platoon of 30 three-ton trucks, but there were not enough of these to have a platoon for each infantry battalion. (The lorried brigades should have sufficient RASC transport to carry everyone). There were also two RASC units with de-turreted tanks and old M3 halftracks, allotted to each of the two infantry divisions in 1956 (These were disbanded in 1957). As late as 1956 only two infantry battalions in BAOR (those in 7th and 20th Armoured Brigades) had some APCs (the Humbers). These were replaced 1957 by the Saracen 6-wheeled APC. The RAC took over this role with 14th/20th King's Hussars using two squadrons to man APCs and its third in tanks to replace the disbanded independent squadron in Berlin. 4th RTR then took over this role from Nov 1960 to Apr 1963. The infantry (1st Bn Royal Northumberland Fusiliers and 1st Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers at the time) finally took over responsibility for these vehicles and their drivers in 1963. It was only after this that APCs (the new FV432 tracked series) gradually became introduced to the remaining infantry in BAOR. This might have taken until very late in the 1960s" - Watson & Rinaldi, again

Edited by FLOZi
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That is really interesting, thank you. The only thing I find a bit off is that my understanding is the Humber Pig came along later than the Saracen and was purchased because we could not afford enough Saracens and the 4x4 was good enough for a variety of roles. The Pig actually outlived the Saracen in British Army service thanks to events in Ulster (some allegedly had to be bought back from scrap yards and out back into service). With BREXIT looming, I hope we have hung on to plenty of MRAPs as we may soon need them in Ulster.

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Was APC work in NI from RLC or some Cavalry guys - or both ?

 

In Iraq anf Afgh I think te driving was outsourced from the infantry

did not the RM provide a dedicated unit of RAM Armoured group (not sure of correct title?

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That is really interesting, thank you. The only thing I find a bit off is that my understanding is the Humber Pig came along later than the Saracen and was purchased because we could not afford enough Saracens and the 4x4 was good enough for a variety of roles. The Pig actually outlived the Saracen in British Army service thanks to events in Ulster (some allegedly had to be bought back from scrap yards and out back into service). With BREXIT looming, I hope we have hung on to plenty of MRAPs as we may soon need them in Ulster.

 

This is specifically BAOR, my understanding is that early Saracens were prioritised for Malaya.

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That's my understanding too Stuart. Were Pigs ever used in Malaya? I've never seen a photo of one there. I think they were primarily BAOR, but there are photos of them in sunnier climes.

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Dipping into Hansard, a discussion on 3rd March 1959 on the 1959-60 defence estimates has (1000!) Pigs being produced after all Saracens then on order had been delivered and all BAOR infantry in armoured brigades equipped with them.

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You wonder if they envisaged them for internal security work even then.

 

Yes, to support the civil power in a post nuclear exchange scenario. They would have been ordered c. 1955/6 when many of the AA units disbanded when AA Command was axed re-roled into what were effectively internal security battalions - I can't remember the actual designation now.

 

Late edit. It was called the Mobile Defence Corps - it was disbanded in 1959.

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the knowledge of people on this site never ceases to amaze me - never heard of the Mobile Defence Corps. Much appreciated

 

The one tonners being allocated to the MDC was an assumption on my part, but it fits the timeline.

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